Disclaimer: I do not own Kamen Rider OOO, and I am making no money off of this. This is solely for my own and other's entertainment.

AN: Ok, I've been thoroughly saddened by OOO's end, but I still hold out hope for an Ankh return during the OOO/Fourze movie (as it is possible, all Eiji has to do is fix the Taka medal and get a bunch of cell medals). I came up with this idea last night when I was re-watching the episode with yugikitsune so I hope you all enjoy

Warnings: Spoilers up through 48. Angst. Mentions of former shonen-ai (Ankh/Eiji naturally)

You idiot, Ankh thought as he stared down at the sleeping Eiji. He had been following the brunette ever since he had died, too worried about the other male and his reaction to everything to leave. He had been right to do so too. Eiji put on a good brave face, and, at times, it really did seem as if the brunette was fine.

Then night fell, and, during those last minutes or hours when Eiji thought he was alone at the end of the day, Ankh watched the other break down, he saw the other's happy mask fall - much as he had back when he'd been alive and they'd been together.

Ankh watched, helpless, as the person he had come to care about most - perhaps, ironically enough, the one who had taught him and whom he had taught to care - broke down again and again. Some nights it wasn't as bad, those were mostly the nights after he spoke to his friends back in Japan or after he had managed to help someone in need. Some nights, though, it was much worse, especially those nights right after Eiji had gotten his hopes up again about finding a way to fix the Taka medal, and on those nights Ankh worried about the other's health - both mental and physical - more than ever.

It was on those nights, along with some others in between, that the brunette suffered from nightmares as well, tossing and turning as he was haunted by whatever images his unconscious mind decided to conjure up. It was during one particularly bad night, as he listened to Eiji call his name - figuratively tearing out the blonde's heart as he was forced to listen to the heartbreak in the other's tone - that Ankh couldn't help himself any longer and reached out one his right hand as if to push the bangs away from the brunette's face.

He had started when he'd actually felt the other male when he couldn't feel anything around them. It had been a muted feeling, and the blonde had known, instinctively, that, had he used more pressure, he would've simply gone through the other male. That contact, though, was more real than anything else to him. Then something even more surprising happened. Eiji actually turned into the contact, gradually calming, face going slack with restful sleep again.

From that moment on, anytime he saw the brunette start to fall into one of his depressions - whether the other was asleep or awake - he would reach out his hand to touch the brunette, holding contact until Eiji had calmed again. His role as guardian, though, didn't help everything. The other still kept searching, chasing after every rumor about something that he might be able to use to fix the Taka medal, stopping only to earn money to travel more or for short periods of time as he continued to help those he ran across. It seemed that the brunette wouldn't give up his self-assigned quest no matter how long it took or how many obstacles stood in his way.

Running his hand down the brunette's cheek when he started to toss, Ankh sighed softly. This was not how he'd wanted things to go. "Why don't you just stop? Go back to Japan and settle there or travel for yourself rather than this mission? This shouldn't be what you want, certainly isn't what I wanted for you," Ankh muttered half to himself, certainly not expecting an answer.

"Can't...won't," he heard Eiji's sleep addled voice mutter, and the blonde jerked, turning his head to stare at the still sleeping brunette.

"Why? I thought you had started to consider the café home." Ankh asked, half-hoping that the other male was answering and not just muttering random nonsense in his sleep.

After a moment, Eiji simply muttered, "Not home."

"Why?" Ankh repeated. He'd really thought the other had considered the cafe his new home, a nest to return to so to speak.

Shifting in his sleep, Eiji frowned as he answered, "Not home without Ankh."

Ankh stared, transfixed, at that. He had known Eiji had cared about him, that the brunette had made it his self-assigned mission in life to find a way to bring him back. This, though, was another matter entirely. This was, in a way, exactly what they'd danced around for so long, wanting to go forward but fearing for what was to come next.

"Why?" Ankh asked once more, he had to be certain...had to hear it himself to know for sure.

There was a moment of silence, and Ankh was half-afraid the other had fallen further unconscious and wouldn't answer until he heard, faint as a whisper, "Love...you."

Ankh felt a foreign, warm wetness - that he knew, on some level, no longer technically existed - course down his cheeks at the words, and he scrubbed at his cheeks with his left hand. "This wasn't supposed to happen," Ankh muttered, mostly to himself, "You idiot, why me?"

This time there was no answering voice, but Ankh thought he understood. He knew he could be difficult and demanding, just as he knew that Eiji could be both oblivious and perceptive by turns, too stubborn for his own good, and too unthinking when it came to his own life. They irritated the hell out of each other at times, and they butted heads more often than some would think possible with the laid back way Eiji usually acted. They both still cared, though, despite - or maybe because of - their differences. They had seen each other through hard times and come out the other side because they'd been working together, and all of it had created something between them that neither of them had dared to voice until it was already too late. And, just maybe, that was the reason they couldn't seem to leave each other alone - Eiji by carrying around the Taka medal and searching for a way to fix it, Ankh by watching over the other male even as an incorporeal spirit - they were both too entwined with each other now, tied together by the force of emotions they'd not put a name to until now.

Shaking his head exasperatedly, Ankh simply continued to keep vigilance over the brunette, knowing that standing guardian against some of Eiji's darker emotions - perhaps, in some ways, over his sanity - was all he could do, all he wanted to do until he could do more.

So Ankh would stand guard as Eiji searched for a way to bring him back to life, neither ever letting go of the ties that bound them.